Home » Copyright/Intellectual Property, Non-US » Founder of Fan-Made Subtitle Site Convicted for Copyright Infringement

Founder of Fan-Made Subtitle Site Convicted for Copyright Infringement

18 September 2017

From TorrentFreak:

Every day millions of people enjoy fan-made subtitles. They help foreigners understand English-speaking entertainment and provide the deaf with a way to comprehend audio.

Quite often these subtitles are used in combination with pirated files. This is a thorn in the side to copyright holder groups, who see this as a threat to their business.

In Sweden, Undertexter was one of the leading subtitle resources for roughly a decade. The site allowed users to submit their own translated subtitles for movies and TV shows, which were then made available to the public.

In the summer of 2013, this reign came to an end after the site was pulled offline. Following pressure from Hollywood-based movie companies, police raided the site and seized its servers.

The raid and subsequent criminal investigation came as a surprise to the site’s founder, Eugen Archy, who didn’t think he or the site’s users were offering an illegal service.

“The people who work on the site don’t consider their own interpretation of dialog to be something illegal, especially when we’re handing out these interpretations for free,” he said at the time.

. . . .

The Attunda District Court sentenced the now 32-year-old operator to probation. In addition, he has to pay 217,000 Swedish Kroner ($27,000).

. . . .

During the trial, the defense had argued that the fan-made subtitles are not infringing since movies are made up of video and sound, with subtitles being an extra. However, the court disagreed with this line of reasoning, the verdict shows.

Link to the rest at TorrentFreak

PG notes that criminal penalties are available for copyright infringement in the United States if the copyright holder can persuade the government to pursue such cases.

The statutes are 17 U.S.C. 506(a) And 18 U.S.C. 2319.

17 U.S.C. 506(a)

(a) Criminal Infringement. 

(1)In general.—Any person who willfully infringes a copyright shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, if the infringement was committed—

(A) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain;
(B) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180–day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000; or
(C) by the distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution.
(2) Evidence.— For purposes of this subsection, evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement of a copyright.
(3) Definition.—In this subsection, the term “work being prepared for commercial distribution” means—

(A) computer program, a musical work, a motion picture or other audiovisual work, or a sound recording, if, at the time of unauthorized distribution—

(i) the copyright owner has a reasonable expectation of commercial distribution; and
(ii) the copies or phonorecords of the work have not been commercially distributed; or

(B) a motion picture, if, at the time of unauthorized distribution, the motion picture—

(i) has been made available for viewing in a motion picture exhibition facility; and
(ii) has not been made available in copies for sale to the general public in the United States in a format intended to permit viewing outside a motion picture exhibition facility.

(b)Forfeiture, Destruction, and Restitution.—

Forfeiture, destruction, and restitution relating to this section shall be subject to section 2323 of title 18, to the extent provided in that section, in addition to any other similar remedies provided by law.

(c)Fraudulent Copyright Notice.—

Any person who, with fraudulent intent, places on any article a notice of copyright or words of the same purport that such person knows to be false, or who, with fraudulent intent, publicly distributes or imports for public distribution any article bearing such notice or words that such person knows to be false, shall be fined not more than $2,500.

(d)Fraudulent Removal of Copyright Notice.—

Any person who, with fraudulent intent, removes or alters any notice of copyright appearing on a copy of a copyrighted work shall be fined not more than $2,500.

(e)False Representation.—

Any person who knowingly makes a false representation of a material fact in the application for copyright registration provided for by section 409, or in any written statement filed in connection with the application, shall be fined not more than $2,500.

(f)Rights of Attribution and Integrity.—

Nothing in this section applies to infringement of the rights conferred by section 106A(a).
And what’s a crime without a punishment?

18 U.S. Code § 2319 – Criminal infringement of a copyright

(a) Any person who violates section 506(a) (relating to criminal offenses) of title 17 shall be punished as provided in subsections (b), (c), and (d) and such penalties shall be in addition to any other provisions of title 17 or any other law.

(b) Any person who commits an offense under section 506(a)(1)(A) of title 17

(1) shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies or phonorecords, of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $2,500;
(2) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense is a felony and is a second or subsequent offense under subsection (a); and
(3) shall be imprisoned not more than 1 year, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, in any other case.

(c) Any person who commits an offense under section 506(a)(1)(B) of title 17

(1) shall be imprisoned not more than 3 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution of 10 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of $2,500 or more;
(2) shall be imprisoned not more than 6 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense is a felony and is a second or subsequent offense under subsection (a); and
(3) shall be imprisoned not more than 1 year, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000.
(d) Any person who commits an offense under section 506(a)(1)(C) of title 17
(1) shall be imprisoned not more than 3 years, fined under this title, or both;
(2) shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, fined under this title, or both, if the offense was committed for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain;
(3) shall be imprisoned not more than 6 years, fined under this title, or both, if the offense is a felony and is a second or subsequent offense under subsection (a); and
 (4) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined under this title, or both, if the offense is a felony and is a second or subsequent offense under paragraph (2).
(e)
(1) During preparation of the presentence report pursuant to Rule 32(c) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, victims of the offense shall be permitted to submit, and the probation officer shall receive, a victim impact statement that identifies the victim of the offense and the extent and scope of the injury and loss suffered by the victim, including the estimated economic impact of the offense on that victim.

(2)Persons permitted to submit victim impact statements shall include—

(A) producers and sellers of legitimate works affected by conduct involved in the offense;
(B) holders of intellectual property rights in such works; and
(C) the legal representatives of such producers, sellers, and holders.

(f) As used in this section—

(1) the terms “phonorecord” and “copies” have, respectively, the meanings set forth in section 101 (relating to definitions) of title 17;
(2) the terms “reproduction” and “distribution” refer to the exclusive rights of a copyright owner under clauses (1) and (3) respectively of section 106 (relating to exclusive rights in copyrighted works), as limited by sections 107 through 122, of title 17;
(3) the term “financial gain” has the meaning given the term in section 101 of title 17; and
(4) the term “work being prepared for commercial distribution” has the meaning given the term in section 506(a) of title 17.

 

Copyright/Intellectual Property, Non-US